A once neutral-coloured Lower Hutt home has been given an injection of colour and personality through the use of bold paint and wallpaper choices and clever, cohesive styling.
First impressions can be deceiving. From the outside, this 1930s former state house looks like many others in the surrounding Lower Hutt streets. But pass through the mint green front door and it’s an explosion of colour. Surprisingly, it was even more colourful when owners Zoe Bartlett and Brad Hale bought it in 2006. “There was daffodil carpet, lime green walls, a pink bathroom and a red Formica kitchen benchtop,” laughs Zoe. But the couple – now parents to Josh, 5, and Lachlan, 1 – could see the potential.
Initially they painted the interior “beige, beige and more beige”, thinking they’d sell their first home once they could afford to. But after a few years, they realised they wanted to stay, so in 2010 they extended out the back, adding an open-plan kitchen and dining area, relocating the master bedroom to the old kitchen, converting the laundry into an ensuite and enlarging the main bathroom. The kitchen was themed around the bright yellow kettle, toaster and freestanding Belling oven. Zoe, who’s studying interior design, painted the wall that runs along the eastern side of the kitchen and dining area in Resene Ebony Clay to contrast with the yellow. A feature wall in the adjacent dining room was covered in a geometric Resene wallpaper which pays homage to the home’s era.
Zoe’s love of colour is also evident in the three bedrooms. In Josh’s room, she spent two weekends painting a feature wall in bold navy and white stripes using Resene Jaguar and Merino. It was stripes again in the master bedroom, but this time using a wallpaper from Resene’s Elegance II range. Zoe kept things subtle on the exterior with Resene Stack but livened it up with a bright green garage door in Resene Limerick, finding a great use for the leftover paint by decorating old photo frames.
Bedroom, living: Dark walls can work by adding drama and allowing accent colours to pop. Using Resene Ebony Clay in both the living room and son Lachlan’s bedroom helps to create a sense of flow and cohesion throughout the house.
Dining: The striking geometric wallpaper is a popular talking point for first-time visitors. The yellow accents Zoe has used here mirror those in the kitchen, which shares the same open-plan space.
Kitchen, office, exterior: The manufacturers of the bright yellow Belling oven perfectly matched the colour to Zoe’s yellow kettle and toaster. The small mosaic tiles used in the kitchen and bathroom are in keeping with the home’s 1930s vintage. Zoe painted a feature circle in Resene Aqua in the office nook to add fun, colour and inspiration to her creative space. The zingy green garage door throws light on an otherwise ordinary space and provides a strong contrast to the exterior shade of Resene Stack.
Master bedroom, Josh's bedroom: The striped wallpaper in the master bedroom is intended to be hung vertically, but using it horizontally has created an illusion of width and greater space. Zoe painted the stripes in Josh’s room using masking tape. Resene Dusted Blue proved the perfect colour for the feature shapes painted by Zoe.
Colour tips: Children’s rooms are a good space to experiment with colours and patterns that you might not use in more public spaces in the home. If it works in the kids’ rooms, it can work anywhere! Don’t be afraid of making colour choices for a room around a cherished painting, piece of fabric, colourful appliance or your child’s favourite colour. Using less can be more. You don’t need a lot of colour to make an impact. Choose a favourite colour and use it for an interesting shape, piece of furniture or pattern to make it stand out. Use colours and patterns that make you happy, not what you think other people would like. It’s okay to step outside the square. Paint isn’t permanent so if you don’t like it, all you need to do is paint over it!